Despite continued opposition from the Feminist Majority and other women’s rights and civil rights groups, Michael McConnell, President Bush’s nominee for the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, was approved by the US Senate Friday in a voice vote. McConnell, who is known for his staunch opposition to abortion rights, will now serve a lifelong term on the “court of last resort” for the states of Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming. Today, the Senate is debating the nomination of anti-civil rights, anti-women’s rights Judge Dennis Shedd to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. A vote is expected sometime this week.
Both Shedd and McConnell were approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee last week. Nine Democratic members of the committee voted against Shedd, a former staff member of Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-SC), who is famous for his consistent opposition to civil rights, while only one Democrat, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), voted against McConnell – who has consistently advocated for the reversal of Roe vs. Wade and declared the landmark abortion rights decision unconstitutional. The Utah law professor also signed a statement of pro-life principle and concern that calls for embryos to be considered persons under the law and applauded a judge for not following the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE). These votes were in stark contrast to a committee that before the November elections delayed votes on both McConnnell and Shedd.
If approved by the full Senate, Shedd would be given a lifetime position on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. Thirty percent of the citizens of those states are African-American, while there is no African-American judge on the Fourth Circuit, Senator Dianne Feinstein noted before the judiciary committee voted last week.